WORLD CLASS MUSEUMS TO BRING OMAN’S HISTORY ALIVE

Dubai might be building the Museum of the Future dedicated to innovation in design and technology, while Abu Dhabi is getting its own Louvre Oman, on the other hand, wants to showcase its history across ages through an iconic museum for which His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said himself laid the foundation stone in July this year.

In addition, the National Museum of Oman, scheduled to be launched before the end of this year, aims to recreate the history of the country through its most significant events and the best combination of conventional resources and latest technology. Intended to be an international arts destination to rival leading names like New York’s Guggenheim and St Petersburg’s State Hermitage, the Oman Across Ages Museum in the wilayat of Manah in Dakhliyah will be a window into the sultanate as it embraces tourism and reveals itself to the West.

The museum will showcase the history of Oman with sounds and visuals. It will also shed light on the achievements since 1970 and highlight Oman’s natural beauty and geographic diversity using modern narrative techniques.

“As per His Majesty the Sultan’s instructions, the Royal Court Affairs, represented by the Royal Estate, will supervise the implementation of this project. With dazzling visuals, the project will present the achievements of the Renaissance to the new generation in an interactive way,” World class museums to bring Oman’s history alive said a statement.

A Perth-based architecture company has been chosen to design the sultanate’s new AUS$500mn museum. Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland, designers of Fremantle’s Maritime Museum and the new Perth Children’s Hospital, beat international competition to secure their biggest contract in the sultanate.

Cox design director Steve Woodland said the firm had won major Middle East contracts before, including a tower in Dubai and a university in Abu Dhabi, but the Oman project was special because of its cultural impact. “It’s a huge coup for us,” he said.

“It is a major cultural project and it does cement us in the international stage.” The museum is intended to be a celebration of the country’s economic, cultural and social renaissance since the 1970s. Woodland said the 30ha museum site was deliberately chosen in a barren, almost-lunar setting inland from the capital Muscat so the building’s outline would pick up the crystalline forms of the Al Hajar mountains. “In the morning the mountains are silhouetted,” he said.

“In the afternoon they are hit with light and they glow.”

The project is expected to finish by late 2018. Local materials including natural stones shaped by traditional craftsmen will be used for the 50,000sq m museum. On the other hand, the National Museum of Oman is one of the most ambitious projects of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

With a collection of 7,000 pieces, and an interactive system that will recreate the history of Oman, the museum will become the first to be adapted for blind people in the Middle East. Some 7,000 artefacts, city maps and life-size replicas of ships, complemented by a host of audiovisual and interactive material, will go to make up the National Museum.

Occupying 4,000sq m and 12 rooms holding over 250 display cases, the museum will also have a gallery for temporary exhibitions, a storage area that can be visited, a conservation space and a children’s classroom.

Interactive and audiovisual resources designed to present the exhibition’s context will contribute both games and learning material to the visit, which will culminate in the showing of the film, Oman in History at the museum’s theatre. This spectacular production, which uses an 8.3 megapixel screen, was shot in 4K ultra high definition.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY